Why Not Question Romney’s Religion?

Back in 2008, the only moment when the Obama campaign looked to be in some difficulty was when the GOP attacked his church and firebrand pastor Jeremiah Wright. The attack itself was dishonest in that the McCain campaign took the words of the sermon out of context. (The idea that duty to God is above loyalty to country is hardly a new or even a remarkable concept in Christian theology.) But if a candidate attended a church that had really preached what the GOP claimed it would be a legitimate issue.

For the past twenty or so years, the Republican party has become increasingly insistent that candidates must be ‘a person of faith’. How can having a faith matter but the choice of faith not matter at all? Why is it not OK to be an atheist or an agnostic but those beliefs excepted, all others are to be considered interchangeable?

There is no consistency in the GOP position.

Unlike race or sexual orientation or gender or any of the differences that the GOP has from time to time picked on for the focus of the party hate plank, religion is a choice. More than that, religion is a choice of ethical system.

What the Romney flap is really about is the media’s need to avoid the awful truth that the GOP is not just the party for the very rich, it is the party of the very white and the evangelically Christian. There is room in the party for Jews and Mormons, there is even space for Gays if they stay in the closet but only if they understand that their place will always be in a supporting role, never the lead.

Romney has had no trouble at all with the GOP’s strategy of pointing a finger at other minorities. He has had no problems signing onto the anti-gay and anti-Latino hate planks. So why are we meant to feel sorry for him now that the finger is being pointed at him?

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